Last year, Dawn wrote an On Reading about the ups and downs of setting reading goals. I’ve always set goals to read a certain number of books in a year, and each year it’s gone up when I’ve blown away the goal. This year I set the lofty goal of 100 books. Last year I read 91, so I figured, what’s 9 more? Well 9 more is almost 1 more book per month, and most months I did read the average of 8-9 books needed to hit 100.
But having a goal has its issues:
- I tend to shy away from longer books. Why read an 800 page book when I could read 2 or even 3 shorter books in the same time?
- I’m never sure if I should include kids’ fiction in my total. If I read a middle grade novel to make sure it’s appropriate for Alex, do I include it? What if it’s a middle grade book for review? I don’t include picture books, but where do I draw the line?
- Then there are the parenting or other non-fiction that I end up skimming or only reading pertinent chapters. If I don’t read every word in a book, should it be on the list?
Of course this is not to say that I won’t be tracking the books I read, I will still use Goodreads so I know what books I’ve read and when. But maybe this will be the year I step away from my spreadsheet. Anything I record in there can also be done in Goodreads, and it’s one less place to keep up to date.
And really, to say I’m not setting a goal is untrue. I want to re-read the last 3 Harry Potter books, I read the first 4 this year but didn’t get to finish them. I also want to read a series I’ve never read before: The Lord of the Rings. Those are all pretty long books, so my total will be a lot shorter than this year. But I’m ok with that. Reading should be fun, not a chore, and stressing over how many books I’ve read has been taking the fun out of it.
So you’re probably wondering if I did reach my goal of 100 books, and on December 30, I actually completed book number 102. For more on the books I read, check out my personal blog, Life With My Boys and Books.
Do you set goals to read a certain number of books in a year? Do you find it helpful to have a goal, or does it stress you out?
Nancy is looking forward to a year of good reading, no matter how many books she reads. She writes about her 2 boys, books and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys and Books.